Joseph Mallord William Turner

Battle Scene, Perhaps from the Napoleonic Wars

c.1801

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 679 x 1020 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17163
Turner Bequest CXCV a M

Catalogue entry

This and Tate D17164 (Turner Bequest CXCV a N), evidently executed at the same time, are difficult to relate to any known project. Neither is mentioned in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory.1 The ambitious subject with many figures engaged in fierce fighting, and indeed some individual passages, can be connected with Turner’s preoccupation with battle scenes around 1800; examples are to be found in the Calais Pier sketchbook, for example Tate D05067 (Turner Bequest LXXXI 165).
There is a slight related sketch on the verso (D41490).
1
See the ‘Miscellaneous Black and White’ grouping in A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.I, pp.597–8, CXCV a A–L, c.1810–20, with which the present work was associated when assigned a Turner Bequest number.
Technical notes:
The sheet is stained and torn.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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